Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Esprit de She Naperville Triathlon Race Report

On Sunday, June 14, I participated in the Espirit de She Sprint Triathlon in Naperville.  The last time I competed in a sprint was in 2013 at the IronGirl race!  I was excited to see how my fitness compared to then.  Especially because I hadn't done much in the way of specific training for this race beforehand. 

Espirit de She Sprint Triathlon
June 14, 2015 
750m swim, 13.3 mile bike, 3.1 mile run

The day prior to the race was super hot and I spent the day picking up my packet and then helping my friends build a deck.  I was under the impression that I was going to hang out but Matt put me to work nailing in brackets.  I even had a blister from my work!  Dehydration did get to me a little bit and I ended up sitting inside cooling off and drinking water.    Since our friends lived closer to Naperville, we stayed with them on Saturday night to shorten our drive on Sunday morning.  

The weather did not get the memo that we were racing that day and I woke up to storms and more rain on the way.  Rain followed us all the way to Naperville.  I was less than thrilled to put my stuff in transition and race to say the least.  Since my wave was near the end, I ended up walking over to transition and leaving my things there in a plastic bag and heading back to the car to hang out for an hour and read my book.  Amy and I were texting and talking about our un-motivation to race.  

Eventually the rain cleared up! Alleluia! I never ended up getting body-marked because I couldn't find anyone doing it before the race so I just put on my wetsuit and got ready to race.  The swim is in a old quarry and the water is chlorinated.  It was quite a nice change from the dirty lakes where you can't see your hand in front of your face. 

With only about 3 minutes between each wave, my wait in line for the swim felt short.  My confidence in my swimming ability is growing so I finally told myself that I was not starting at the back and ended up in about the second row.  When the gun went off I sprinted into the water and started swimming hard. By about the first hairpin turn, I had separated from most of the group and found a good set of feet to follow.  We had to swim around quite a few people in the waves before us but I stayed on those feet.  I think I ended up coming out of the water 3rd in my wave.  I was happy with that and it's a reminder to me that I need to be selecting the more aggressive swim positions in future races.

Transition was a bit of a mess from the rain.  All my bike and run things were mixed together in one plastic bag so I had to dig a little bit to find my shoes, but it was all worth it to have dry running shoes and socks.  Bike out was a long, long way away from my bike which was quite a pain in bike shoes.  If I had paid more attention in the morning, I would have opted to run with my shoes in my hand.  

On the bike, I pushed hard.  It was a sprint afterall! Being about the 30th wave to start, there were a lot of people to pass on the bike course.  Triathlon bikes, road bikes, hybrids, beach cruisers, bikes with baskets--I saw them all on the course.   

And here is where I am going to do a bit of ranting. Espirit de She is a women's only race that markets itself as beginner friendly.  Don't get me wrong, I am all for getting people into triathlon and everyone is a beginner once, but what I am not all for is total disregard of the triathlon rules.  This race was USAT sanctioned which means I expected it to follow the USAT rules.  Rules help everyone race fairly and help keep all participants safe.  A few USAT rules include all riders must be wearing a helmet, no headphones are allowed, no drafting on the bike, and everyone must ride on the ride side of the road and pass to the left.  What I encountered on the bike course could be effectively described as a clusterf***.  Riders were strung out 3 wide across the road and generally weren't aware of the rules of passing.  I don't want to sound conceited because I am not some world-class athlete, but my Garmin data said I averaged 19.3 mph on the bike and when I was coming up behind someone biking less than 12 mph, that is not safe. Weaving in and out of other riders was not comfortable for me.  If I want to go on a leisurely ride, I can do that for free; I paid $86.40 to compete in this race and I was there to test my fitness.  I really wish Espirit de She would have emphasized the rules in their pre-race emails or at the expo. Ultimately, the burden to know the rules is on the participant though.  Espirit de She could have also had more course marshals or course officials out on the course encouraging participants to follow the rules. I've seen races do a great job of welcoming beginners while still maintaining the focus on safety and rule-following so I know it can be done. End rant. 

I had a strong bike and was able to dismount and start the long run back to my bike rack smoothly.  Although the pavement was very wet and I was warned it was slippery it was too late for me to slow down. 

The run was muggy but I was determined to run the entire thing.  No speed records were broken but I laid down fairly consistent splits (9:30, 9:29, and 9:13 according to my Garmin).  Running and I haven't been best of friends lately so it was nice to know I could still run. 

Swim: 11:24 (1:32/100m)
T1: 3:38
Bike: 41:36 (17.9 mph)
T2: 1:54
Run: 28:16 (9:06/mile)
Overall: 1:26:46

I found the distances to be slightly off compared to my Garmin.  Certainly, Garmins are not 100% accurate but I definitely did not swim nor run that fast. 

After the race, I checked out the goods with Kelly, Nicole, and Amy.  

Amy and I were rocking our Smashfest Queen tops.

I picked up a few freebies from the vendors including my favorite vendor Dunkin' Donuts.  And then made the long trek home to shower.  

Cost: $86.40 (signed up early)
Pros: Great swag--two Moxie biking jerseys
Cons: minimum focus on the rules
Would I do it again?   I'm not sure yet.  The price isn't bad but I'm still irked about the biking situation

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